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Goverment sacks board of pharmacy monopoly

TT/The Local · 22 Sep 2009, 07:53

Published: 22 Sep 2009 07:53 GMT+02:00

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At issue is the ownership directive put forward by Apoteket Omstrukturering AB, the parent company to Apoteket AB.

Health minister Göran Hägglund said that there is a difference of opinion between the board of the parent company and Apoteket AB.

“There have been different views between these boards, which isn’t so strange when you consider that there are a number of different issues to address, and that in some situations there can be different assessments and different conclusions. For my part, I don’t think there is any reason to make any more assessments than those already carried out by the restructuring company,” Hägglund told the TT news agency.

While the minister stopped short of saying that the government was firing the board of Apoteket AB, he didn’t deny that was the case.

“I wouldn’t be surprised by that headline even if I haven’t expressed myself that way,” he said.

Discussions between the board of the parent company and that of Apoteket AB have been ongoing since the summer. The Apoteket AB board learned of the new ownership directive last Friday.

“We’ve said no to the directive. We have objected in the sense that we refused to follow the instructions and directive we received. That’s the situation in reality,” said Apoteket AB board chair Per Båtelson to TT.

According to Båtelson, the board was unanimous in its view. He explained that the board had certain misgivings about how the directive treated the competition.

“I think it benefits our competitors in a way that is clearly iffy. It means micromanaging and putting limits on the company’s future growth which we can’t stand behind. The way they want to lock us in now would leave the company behind to such an extent that we won’t accept or be a part of it,” said Båtelson.

One of the measures affected by the proposed directive is Apoteket’s plans to have the Ica grocery store chain carry some of its products.

“We’ve had a planned partnership with Ica, which I can say now is more or less dead because we’re locked in until sometime into 2011 and Ica can’t wait so long,” said Båtelson.

Story continues below…

A new board of directors for Apoteket AB will be chosen at an extra shareholders’ meeting to be held sometime in the near future.

The CEO of Apoteket, Stefan Carlsson, will remain at his post.

Apoteket Omstrukturering AB is owned by the state, with the health and social ministry acting as the principle owner.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:34 September 22, 2009 by usgepo
Omstrukturering AB, has already spent millions of our tax payer crowns on consultancy for the procedure of sale of the pharmacies. Who will pay for the deregulation in the long run? The consumer and the tax payer. There is a certainty that the deregulation will result on poor quality goods, counterfeit drugs, higher prices.? Have you ever received good advice from a boots pharmacy? Have you any idea of who monitors the quality goods? Some things should be left alone if they work. Does it make sense to chop and split up a well functioning company? What is next -Systembolaget? Get a real job politicians, this is not a political debate, I´m pro free market but this is working why break it!

Who is going to police the import of expired drugs, re-labelled and repackaged in Eastern Europe?
08:53 September 22, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Usgepo, you sound link a US Republican, using stupid and false claims to scare people.

Sure it works well, yes. Can it work better, certainly! Does it work for people that do not have an Apoteket anywhere in their area? Does it work for people who need medicine at night (only 1 24hr in Stockholm and one other that closes at 22:00).
08:59 September 22, 2009 by Jan M
It is working. In the UK pharmacies have been 'free market' for a long time. There are currently drug shortages for certain medicines because the exchange rate makes it more attractive and profitable for pharmacies in the UK to sell their stock to other EU countries than sell it to customers in the UK. Sweden should be very careful what it wishes for.
09:08 September 22, 2009 by hpunlimited
I have been hoping for a deregulation of Apoteket for many years. It is one of the last communist dinosaurs in Swedish society, only systembolaget left after this. Some how Swedes are the only people in the world that can not handle drugs and alcohol. Apoteket offers extremely bad advice, closed all the time, extremely high prices, they prey on the sick. I am all for free market economy. Sweden does have regulations and laws to keep us all safe, it should be enough.
09:12 September 22, 2009 by Jan M
The free market. When it reaches Sweden courtesy of these changes I do hope you'll still be able to justify it. You can't step private companies selling to the highest bidder in a free market and they don't have to do it in Sweden.

10:03 September 22, 2009 by hpunlimited
Jan M:

The people in the UK has to bid higher then. The United Kingdom is far from the poorest country in the EU, they can afford to pay as much as other europeans for their drugs.

Don't expect companies to sell at loss to satisfy cheap customers.
10:10 September 22, 2009 by jack sprat
Free and fair competition is pie in the sky.

The Govt is making the absolute minimum changes possible to abide by EU directives.

It will retain as much control as it can possibly get away with, by applying even more restrictions.

Things will change very little.

More shades of the iron fist of ex Soviet bloc countries.
10:41 September 22, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ usgepo

You are completely right, couldn't have said it better myself.

@ Renfeh Hguh

Sounds like a republican? He is in favor of a government run system ! And he isn't trrying scare anyone either..

@ jack sprat

I only need to say one thing. You're insane.
10:51 September 22, 2009 by Lostaussie
While I think it is sensible to sell some OTC drugs from places like ICA, I think in general the Apoteket is one of the best run government owned organisations in Sweden. The only thing you could complain about is that it doesn't have shelves stacked high with over priced high street branded products and a lot of other useless cough medcines. Why they didn't privatise the Systemet is a complete mystery. Ok I know the answer, too much profit and to many druken Swedes.
11:18 September 22, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh

You missed my point, usgepo is trying to scare people into maintaining the status quo. This is the same tactic currently used by the Republicans and others in the anti-Obama healthcare camp.

The Swedish government will maintain a tight control on the perscription drugs. For f..ks sake, Swedes and Sweden does not change over night and Swedes will be scared if the government cannot reasure them that all safety measures have been taken. My ex's mother was horrified when she heard that we bought cold and flu medicines back from Australia. My ex had to tell her all of the ingrediants listed on the packet before her mother calmed down and understood they contained nothing evil.

Anyone who thinks we will end up with a system that will result in us receiving expired or counterfit drugs clearly does not know Swedes and Sweden.
11:37 September 22, 2009 by Jan M
Not sure about that because it implies that Swedish society is conservative, cautious and does not adopt new concepts. Playing devil's advocate, breach of copyright on music, films etc. wasn't a big deal so why should counterfeit drugs be? :). There's a growing culture of the cheaper the better and no questions asked. It's an interesting ongoing experiment for Swedish society. Interestingly privatising these organisations has had no effect whatsoever on the tax burden just like the UK. The difference is Sweden still has comparatively low debt levels. The UK may look wealthy but most of the 'real' monetary wealth takes the form of borrowings from other economies.
11:45 September 22, 2009 by hpunlimited
Renfeh Hguh:

Great comment!! Swedes are totally paranoid about what they eat to begin with, getting old and expired meds simply won't happen. Being able to pick up my meds from ICA would be just great, instead of standing in line at Apoteket getting infected by colds, flu's and other diseases looking for my government handout. Sweden do have laws and regulations for ICA, Hemköp etc to follow. That is good enough for me!
11:57 September 22, 2009 by usgepo
Once again missing the point is not a political matter, cultural, or Swedish paranoia, it is about resources, with this dismantled which government body will ensure the quality of goods coming into the country emanating from dodgy distributors, to be sold by Boots and alike, if ICA can sell expired ground beef and get away with it, whom will care and check the quality of the prescription for your child next time he or she gets ill?
12:26 September 22, 2009 by peropaco
Happy to see the change will take place. Apotekek is something which should have gone out long a go with the downing of the Berlin wall and the rest of the old Soviet era relics.
14:03 September 22, 2009 by Jan M
Presumably along with state support for the 'private' financial services sector too. Amazing that anybody thinks the free market provides great solutions in light of the current crisis.
17:00 September 22, 2009 by jag2009
Be careful what you wish for. This sounds like a righ circle of poo. I wouldn't fancy getting any medicine at the local ICA...
17:19 September 22, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Where do you guys who are scared of Apoteket loosing their monopoly come from? I'm from Australia wher the pharmasies are privately operated and I have never heard of expired, counterfit or whatever perscription drugs being a problem. The Government there subsidises the perscription drugs to keep them affordable and controls what is available in the Australian market place. Only trained (and I guess licenced) phamasists are allowed to dispense the drugs.

NOTHING will change when you need a perscription to be filled except that we will end up with more places to buy them, some with more convinient hours and to make the smaller pharmasies more financially viable, a greater variety of non-pharmasy goods will also be available for sale. I would not be surprised if Australian pharmasies make their profit on the "other items" and the persription drugs just ensure a steady supply of customers.

Don't be so scared children.
17:35 September 22, 2009 by mkvgtired
Renfeh Hguh, No a US Republican would be anti-government monopoly. Especially one that could thrive in a competitive environment. They would take the same stance you are taking.
19:16 September 22, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
OMG... My reference to the Republicans is to do with the SCARE TACTICS that they are employing to try and gain support against Obama's health care plan, NOT the policy which I 100000% agree that they would break up the monopoly.

Is it clear now?
19:35 September 22, 2009 by usgepo
Renfeh Hguh so naive, and Ill informed, where have you been? let me throw a wild guess and comment around the same lines as yours, you were born and raised in Waga Waga right? you are acting like some of my fellow Americans who believe that in your country you make saddles for Kangaroos and ride them like Tauntauns on the Empire Strikes back!
21:02 September 22, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
So where am I ill informed? The way Swedes think? That I expect the government will privatise Apoteket in such a way as to not cause "fear" in the Swedish population? The way the Republicans are using scare tactics?

Since you are from the US perhaps you are expecting privatisation to give Sweden the same system you have back home with poor quality/out of date etc... medicines (I have no idea if that is the case).

If this is the case then listen closely......... SWEDEN IS NOT THE USA and WILL NEVER BE!

Perhaps you should head back to your trailer and turn on Jerry Springer.
22:18 September 22, 2009 by Leprehcaun
Wow.. ehm I'm confused but.. ok fine. For the sake of those who honestly thinks that they are the only ones that aren't Swedish here I need to say that I'm the only Swede here (here, like in in this article) (so far).

@ Renfeh Hguh

"SWEDEN IS NOT THE USA" - and thank the lord, god, allah (yeah yeah, same "sagogubbe" I know, but I need names) and the devil for that.

"and WILL NEVER BE!" - thank the same non-existing things again!

But we're getting closer non the less, and if the right wins the next election I'll flee from this country. Make me dictator for 15 years and I'll create paradise (what it is according to me anyway; meaning the worst place imaginable for e.g. people like mkvgtired.. oh the idea makes me feel like homer simpsons fantasizing about something really unhealthy and eatable).

Anyway back to reality; can you please rewrite this: "gain support against Obama's health care plan, NOT the policy which I 100000% agree that they would break up the monopoly."

It confuses me quite a lot, thanks in advance.
06:49 September 23, 2009 by usgepo
In the fact that we are not talking about Swedes as a culture, nor political parties, only that more people die of drug related interactions, than auto accidents, Apoteket good or bad has systems to check, what you are prescribed and if it interacts with something else you are taking, also if people are abusing the system, like filing multitude prescriptions, I know this system I sold them to them many years ago! And no I do not depend of revenue from Apoteket, they are not my client, the fact still remains that this checks and balances save us tax crowns, and prevents potential problems, good or bad the system works to a larger extend, why change it?

It´s not Microsoft we are talking about, once again no scary republican tactics nor Swedish mentality, nor political debating, that is secondary, the issue here is that politicians, as Ill informed as you made a rash decision without looking at the big picture, secondary, tertiary costs, involved. My commentary is purely about the concerned of what this effects will have on you, our families and me as a consumer in the long run. Honestly do you think ICA or Boots will place this governance and system at their stores to care for you or I?
09:17 September 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Oh F.CK this website

Just typed a long answer and lost it because I had a sentence with uppercase characters.

usgepo.... wake up this is Sweden... Boots will have to play by the rules set by Sweden and the rules will keep the Swedish voters feeling safe and confident in the way the place is Governed. To think anything thing else is stupidity
09:58 September 23, 2009 by Jan M
.............because the government never gets things wrong or does anything for short-sighted reasons...... ;-)
12:35 September 23, 2009 by usgepo
It is because is Sweden I worry about! my family is Swedish, on the other hand maybe you are right, I´m stupid, a dumb redneck republican, trying to scare people, this website is F.CK as you so eloquently pointed out, if so you are truly from Waga Waga or another close minded little wombat hole of a town, where the man are man, the woman are man too, the sheep run scared, and incest is the local pastime.
16:29 September 23, 2009 by Rick Methven
Reading some of my fellow immigrants comments on this subject, I think they must be rathere healthy and do not need the Apotek - apart from 'personal supplies'.

There is now proposal to completely de-regulate drug sales in Sweden, just the prescription free over- the-counter items. ICA is already selling items that are de-regulated in competition with Apotek.

You will never see prescription drugs being sold in ICA over the counter. Just like you don't see them sold in Boots. You may see Apotek's within ICA stores with the same regulations. You will not find a flood of counterfeit medicines - only those approved by FASS.

I find prescription charges in Sweden rather low and the charging structure very fair. For those fellow immigrants that are unaware of the system, the way prescription medicines are charged is as follows. You start paying the full manufacturers list price for medicines prescribed by your doctor. When you have paid 90Kr in a 12 month period, you pay 50% of the price, When you have paid 1800kr in less than a year, the cost of filling out a prescription is free for the rest of the period. So the maximum that anybody can pay is 1800Kr ($265) a year. I also find that the Apotek staff always offer a generic version of brand name medication that is on the prescription, if it is available. That saves money for the patient as well as the state.Ever seen that happen in Boots?

Oh by the way Renfeh Hguh you brought cough medicine in from Australia. Waste of money. I once asked a doctor in the UK to recommend on of the myriad of products available. His reply "Buy one from the company you've got shares in. taking any over the counter cough preparation only increases the profits of the company and does nothing for the users"
18:08 September 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh

I never called any one a Republican, I just said that your post is using the same scare tactics that the Republicans are currently using.

You should meet my 7 year old niece as the two of you like saying Waga Waga. Given the childish insult you posting, I will have to assume that the reference to "your family" means your parents and older brothers and sisters.

For the record, unless you were born and grew up in LA or NYC then you come from a smaller city than my Australian hometown. Statistically speaking any Australian has a far greater chance of coming from a city with 1m+ population than an American has. Less than 10% of the US population live in 1m+ cities where as over 65% of Australians live in 1m+ cities. So you are statistically much more likely to live in close minded little towns.

@ Rick Methven

I agree that the OTC cold and flu medicine do not cure the illness or shorten the illness period, but they do lessens the impact of the symptoms helping breath easier and sleep at night, which is what I want from them. I know from experience that they do this and I will continue to use them.

Have you thought that maybe the doctor might want you to come to him and earn him money rather than going for OTC at Boots? :-)
18:13 September 23, 2009 by Rick Methven
Actually Wagga Wagga is a great place. I've been there a few times. Sold Aircraft to kendall airlines. Nice place nice people
20:41 September 23, 2009 by miss V
I understand that each person who commented here carries experiences from his/hers home country. However, there is the rest of Europe too: Germany, France, Switerland etc. and I've never heard they had problems with having private pharmacies. It is all regulated by the goverment.

For that matter, neither Eastern Europe had problems as usgepo mentioned.

Still, there are always people who are not flexibile enough and afraid of changes... sometimes with reason, and sometimes not.
22:12 September 23, 2009 by mkvgtired
"Since you are from the US perhaps you are expecting privatisation to give Sweden the same system you have back home with poor quality/out of date etc... medicines (I have no idea if that is the case)."

Many changes need to be made to the American insurance system. Creating a single payer system is not the answer. When I was in Europe most people there are under the impression that the majority of Americans do not have healthcare. If that is the case why does it have the highest cancer survival rate in the world? Last time I checked it is not only rich people that get cancer. I would say our system of private pharmacies works pretty well. I am assuming you have never been here. Within a 15 minute walk of my work I can choose from 15+ pharmacies. My home about 8. I have never received poor quality medicines, and you came from a country with private pharmacies so I dont know why you make that assertion.


Believe it or not most Americans including myself could care less about what Sweden does to its pharmacy monopoly. If the Swedish (not American) public would prefer a monopoly then the monopoly should continue. You are the one who introduced hostility to this board by bringing up Republicans in the second post. I thought this was supposed to be a discussion on the Swedish pharmacy monopoly. I agree with you that privatization will not change much, except increasing availability.

"Perhaps you should head back to your trailer and turn on Jerry Springer."

As you stated in another post less than 10% of Americans are from 1MM+ cities. Why does it matter if someone is from a small town or a large city? This has no bearing on their intelligence. If it matters I am from a small town in the midwest near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. It is called Chicago, just your run of the mill, midwest, redneck haven.
08:26 September 24, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
@ mkvgtired

The comment about the US system was purely done because I have no idea where usgepo was getting his fanciful ideas about post privatisation. I suspected that they were from thin air but gave them a chance to share his experience in case the US was that bad (which I was guessing not)

I ONLY mentioned the Rupblicans because they are right now using the same scare tactics that usgepo is trying to use. I'm sure there are plenty of cases where the Swedish Vänsterpartiet (Left ex. commies) are using the same tactict to gain support for their position

Finally the reference to the city population size is in reference to usgepo idiotic comment "another close minded little wombat hole of a town, where the man are man, the woman are man too, the sheep run scared, and incest is the local pastime." I was just highlighting that it is statistically more likely that they are from a small town and everything it usgepo implies.
21:12 September 24, 2009 by CarlaGG
Suggestion, why don't use all pop 20mg of Valium and stop living such boring lives
21:01 September 29, 2009 by mkvgtired
Renfeh Hguh, I missed that comment. I stand corrected.
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